WordPress Tutorial 2: Terminology

An important part of learning any new piece of software is understanding the terminology it uses. Thankfully WordPress uses fairly simple names for everything that make it easy to start using the software.

This is part 2 in an ongoing series on WordPress. Please see Part 1: WordPress Tutorial 1: Installation Setup and Part 3: WordPress Tutorial 3: How to Install a New Plugin, Theme, or Widget and Part 4: WordPress Tutorial 4: Recommended WordPress Plugins. Please note that this guide is primarily intended for customers utilizing a Linux server running cPanel. If you do not have a Linux server with cPanel please see the documentation at wordpress.org for further assistance.

Posts

WordPress is designed to function primarily as a web log (blog). A blog is traditionally a series of stories which are referred to as posts. A post can be anything you want it to be. News, music, art, movie reviews, really anything you want to publish on your web site. Most WordPress sites display posts in chronological order based on the date they were written or posted to the site.

Your WordPress database keeps detailed information for each post such as who wrote it, categories and tags that apply to the post, and also comments made on each post by visitors to your web site. This data also helps search engines index your web site!

Pages

Pages on WordPress sites are used to store and display information that you always want available to your visitors. A common use of a Page on a WordPress site is to create an About page which displays basic information about your web site.

For example, if you use WordPress to run a site that operates as a news site you may want to give your readers a place where they can go to submit news tips. A “Tips” page could contain a web form or simple instructions on how to send you tips via e-mail. Since the content of a “Send Us Tips” page would not change frequently it is a perfect example of something that should go in a Page as opposed to a Post.

Categories & Tags

Tags can be thought of as micro-topics. For example, say you are posting pictures to your web site along with stories, etc. If you post a picture of a yellow flower you might tag it with the words Flower, Yellow, Picture, Photo, Green, Sunny, and on and on with as many tags as you can think of.

Categories are used to classify information into different topics. In the previous example you tagged a picture of a yellow flower with many different tags. While you can use several categories, it is usually advised to keep categories to a minimum while making tags as numerous as possible.

The combination of both tags and categories allows your visitors to view, organize, and search your content however they want, either through broad terms (Categories) or a multitude of descriptors (Tags).

Ultimately WordPress lets you decide how categories and tags will be used on your site.

Plugins

Plugins add functionality to WordPress, similar to how extensions add functionality to the Firefox web browser. Most web sites that utilize WordPress make extensive use of plugins to add new features and abilities to the software.

For example, if you find yourself writing several pages in a similar format on a regular basis you could find a plugin that adds template functionality to your WordPress software.

A comprehensive list of WordPress plugins is maintained at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/

Users

You can create multiple users for your WordPress site. Each user can be granted permissions ranging from a reader account with comments enabled to an author who sends you new material all the way up to a full administrative account with complete control over the web site.

Permalinks

While the main page of your WordPress site will, by default, display your recent posts in chronological order each post also has its own direct web page. These single-post-viewing pages are referred to as Permalinks.

WordPress’s administrative interface includes settings for changing how permalinks appear to both visitors and search engines.

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